THOMAS TUCHEL has revealed he once tried to sign Manchester United star Bruno Fernandes.
Tuchel said: “My first sporting director in Paris was Antero Henrique, who is Portuguese.
“He knew Bruno very, very well. He fought hard to have a connection to him and to bring him to our team because he was a big personality for Sporting.
“An effective goalscorer, and an effective guy to make the other players around him dangerous.
“It was during my first year in Paris. We watched more and more games about him. We followed him and tried to be in touch with him to make it happen.
“He went another way. It’s bad for us, eh, that we have to play against him?”
Tuchel learned first- hand with PSG how important Fernandes is to United.
The Portuguese playmaker scored a penalty in United’s 2-1 away win over PSG in this season’s group stage, but Tuchel kept him quiet in a 3-1 win at Old Trafford in early December.
The Chelsea head coach said: “The impact he has since he arrived in Man United is indescribable. Unbelievable.
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“Coming from Portugal — stepping in here, one of the biggest clubs in the Premier League, the strongest league in Europe, and to have this kind of impact, I have nothing but the biggest respect for this guy.
“He’s outstanding. He’s one of the best attacking midfielders in the world.
“He has a huge impact. He has such a big influence on their game, on their attacking game.
“It is key to defend against him, to be around him, to be close to him.”
The fortunes of Tuchel and United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer have gone in opposite directions since PSG triumphed in that Champions League clash.
Tuchel was sacked later that month while the Norwegian has gone from strength to strength.
The Chelsea boss said: “I feel that he has a lot of support from his club.
“We could always feel that even in situations where results were missing, we could always feel from outside that this is THE guy, they have found the guy they trust.
“You have to earn it. If you don’t do it you lose the trust.
“I assume that this is not a gift for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. I assume he works hard for it.”
As for Tuchel, he knows he is under immense pressure every game, despite a terrific unbeaten Premier League start with four wins.
He said: “I know from outside I will be judged on every substitution, every line-up before the match, after the match.
“This is how it is, this is the big thing around football, but I don’t let myself be affected too much.”
But today’s result could depend on how his Chelsea deal with Fernandes — the one that got away.